Octodad: Dadliest Catch is not a game for those who lack a sense of humour.
It is, after all, about an octopus in a suit who is desperately trying to hide his true cephalopod identity from his human wife and kids, by keeping his flailing arms in check while performing everyday activities.
Everything about this game hinges on being silly, so don’t expect ultra-realism and real-world challenges here. Octodad is a quick and delightful romp through the life of an octopus and his family, even when the experience is bogged down by technical issues.
Who’s that man in the three-piece suit?
The game revolves around Octodad's archenemy: an overzealous French chef who wants to expose Octodad for what he really is and then turn him into fricassee. If none of this makes sense, that’s perfectly fine.
Trust me when I say it works wonderfully in its own little world and it charms in an instant.
Because of the lead character’s stuffy situation Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a challenge in physics. Your cephalopod companion doesn’t have full mobility in that nice suit he’s wearing, and as such has a hard time getting around.
By controlling each of Octodad’s "legs" and one of his "arms," you can move him around the stage and help him interact with the world, albeit very awkwardly. Some stages have obstacles that need to be climbed or traversed, other times Octodad must mop up a puddle of water or bring a cup of coffee to his face to drink.
Who’s that man with the eight strong legs?
These are boring tasks to a human, but to Octodad every day is a new adventure, even when he’s just mowing the lawn. And they're always a source of goofy, slapstick humour.
In the right hands Octodad can get around surprisingly quickly, with broad steps extending his body into impossible contortions. Unfortunately, even the best of players can’t get around the technical problems plaguing every part of the octo-adventure.
I quickly lost count of how many times one of Octodad’s limbs would betray my command, getting stuck behind a table or under a desk. Climbing ladders is a particularly grueling chore, as the multiple directions that each limb must travel leads for some awkward control movement.
Tried to make me breakfast but he broke my eggs
Even worse are the times that Octodad gets stuck in part of the level, unable to move until I load the most recent checkpoint. Just when a lot of progress is being made Octodad gets his head stuck in a door that closed on him and I have to press restart again.
Worst of all is easily when I finished the game and the game completely crashed while loading the end credits, forcing me to complete the final task over again.
Octodad is a weird game that depends on its charm and cartoony chuckles to win me over, but I will not be won if I keep seeing chinks in the technical armor over and over again.
He’s got a good thing going
I enjoyed Octodad’s take on physics-based gameplay, especially when it meant sliding the octopus down a giant slide and hearing his delighted blubs.
It’s when the game decides to mutiny against me, forcing Octodad into walls or doors that he’s not supposed to be stuck in, when I start to get angry with the game.